Where is pros­per­ity?

People's Review - - COMMENTARY - PR PRAD­HAN push­para­jprad­han@gmail.com

"Pros­per­ous Nepal and happy Nepali" is the motto of the Com­mu­nist Party of Nepal (CPN). Whether the present govern­ment and also the rul­ing party are com­mit­ted to ful­fill this mis­sion, it is doubt­ful. The govern­ment led by KP Sharma Oli has al­ready com­pleted seven months in of­fice. There is a say­ing, "morn­ing shows the day". In these seven months we have not seen any sign of any good be­gin­ning for the coun­try and the peo­ple. For­get about other op­po­nents who ob­vi­ously crit­i­cize the govern­ment, but se­nior lead­ers in the party have also ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion on the non-per­for­mance of the govern­ment. Ear­lier to his de­par­ture to Sin­ga­pore, the rul­ing party's co-chair­man Push­paka­mal Da­hal said that the govern­ment has not been able to per­form. Ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing in Chit­wan, Da­hal said that peo­ple are not sat­is­fied from the per­for­mance of the govern­ment. If such a trend will con­tinue, ob­vi­ously, the party will lose pop­u­lar­ity among the peo­ple. More than that, the party's se­nior leader Mad­hav Nepal, ad­dress­ing the par­lia­ment, ex­pressed his ut­ter dis­sat­is­fac­tion on the non­per­for­mance of the govern­ment. It is very much as­ton­ish­ing that why the govern­ment is un­able to per­form! What is the govern­ment plan to achieve pros­per­ity, we don't know the govern­ment pro­gramme. If we watch the eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors, they present a very bleak pic­ture of the na­tion's econ­omy. Re­cently the Nepal Ras­tra Bank (NRB)'s un­veiled a re­port which shows very neg­a­tive in­di­ca­tors of the econ­omy. There is sharp de­cline in re­mit­tance growth rate and alarm­ing trade deficit along with neg­a­tive bal­ance of pay­ments. Ac­cord­ing to the cen­tral bank’s re­port, the coun­try’s cur­rent ac­count deficit is of Rs 17.88 bil­lion com­pared to Rs 11.12 bil­lion in the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous fis­cal year. Bal­ance of pay­ments deficit also in­creased to Rs 5.87 bil­lion as the trade deficit in­creased alarm­ingly by a whop­ping 12 per cent com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous fis­cal to stand at Rs 151.83 bil­lion in the first two months. In trade, the ra­tio of ex­port and im­port has been recorded at 1:12 in the re­view pe­riod com­pared to 1:11 in the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous fis­cal year. The coun­try im­ported goods worth Rs 165.4 bil­lion against ex­ports of Rs 13.58 bil­lion in the re­view pe­riod. Im­port of pe­tro­leum prod­ucts, ve­hi­cles and ma­chin­ery parts surged in the re­view pe­riod. What mea­sures the govern­ment is plan­ning to im­prove the eco­nomic health of the govern­ment, we don't know. Just last week, the Sri Lankan govern­ment de­cided to stop im­ports of ve­hi­cles at least for six months to re­duce trade deficit. The govern­ment has also asked the peo­ple not to use im­ported prod­ucts and not to travel to for­eign coun­tries. Con­sid­er­ing the poor eco­nomic sce­nario, the newly elected Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan has ini­ti­ated a revo­lu­tion­ary move along with cut down on the govern­ment fa­cil­i­ties to the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and min­is­ters. Per­haps, our lead­ers in the govern­ment are aware about the ef­forts made by lead­ers from the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. Ear­lier, PM Oli's close aides were say­ing that he was busy in read­ing and try­ing to fol­low Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Sin­ga­porean vi­sion­ary leader Lee Kuan Yew's bi­ogra­phies. When this scribe was in­formed about Oli's read­ing choice, he had hoped for some revo­lu­tion­ary move from Oli af­ter he as­sumed of­fice. Un­for­tu­nately, it didn't hap­pen. The sound eco­nomic health of the coun­try is the mir­ror of pros­per­ity. If the bal­ance of pay­ment is pos­i­tive, this is an in­di­ca­tion that the na­tion's econ­omy is okay. And if in­ter­na­tional trade is also pos­i­tive, this in­di­cates eco­nomic pros­per­ity of the na­tion. Con­tra­dic­tion is that for decades, Nepal is con­tin­u­ously fac­ing trade deficit and last year, for the first time, the coun­try wit­nessed a deficit in bal­ance of pay­ments. This year, com­pared to last year's same pe­riod, the trade deficit has in­creased by 45 per­cent. Fur­ther­more, due to the in­crease of the US dol­lar and also in­creased price of pe­tro­leum prod­ucts, the coun­try's trade deficit is go­ing to be fur­ther in­ten­si­fied. As our de­pen­dency on pe­tro­leum prod­ucts is in­creas­ing ev­ery year, trade deficit is be­yond the con­trol of the govern­ment. Im­port of ve­hi­cles and prac­tice of us­ing cook­ing gas have also con­trib­uted in in­ten­si­fy­ing trade deficit. At a time, when the de­vel­oped coun­tries have fixed the dead­line to re­place pe­tro­leum prod­uct con­sum­ing ve­hi­cles by e-ve­hi­cles, our govern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing im­port of pe­tro­leum prod­uct con­sum­ing ve­hi­cles. In­stead of sub­si­diz­ing and en­cour­ag­ing use of mi­cro-oven con­sum­ing elec­tric­ity for cook­ing food, the govern­ment is aimed at con­struct­ing gas-pipe­line from In­dia and so on and so forth, which are all de­struc­tive. Will these ini­tia­tives con­trib­ute to the na­tion for its pros­per­ity?

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